Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was among a chorus of voices from across the political spectrum who called on the outspoken libertarian to apologise – but Senator Leyonhjelm responded by doubling down and calling the prime minister a “pussy”.
The proceedings were brought in the federal court, where Senator Hanson-Young’s team will argue Senator Leyonhjelm damaged her reputation by implying she is a “slut” who “hates men”, according to court documents.
"It was always my preference that Senator Leyonhjelm apologise and acknowledge how hurtful, defamatory and damaging his comments were, however he refuses to do so,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“While the Federal Court cannot compel Senator Leyonhjelm to apologise, it does have the power to award damages in my favour which I pledge to donate to two very worth organisations - Plan International and the Working Women's Centre SA.”
Senator Leyonhjelm has defended his comments by saying robust language was a normal part of Australian life.
He said his comments were “just abuse, not sexist abuse”.
Both senators have reached out to their supporters to crowdfund their legal bills.
Senator Hanson-Young says any leftover money will be donated to charities, as will her winnings if she is awarded damages.
Senator Leyonhjelm would use any remainder as election campaign funding, according to his GoFundMe page.